WHaM comments on Pring Street Site

Slightly outside of the TRESA area, but the developments at Bedminster green are “on our doorstep” and affects the tone for development in South Bristol.  Residents group “WHaM” have provided feedback on the latest development plans.

Pring Site, Malago Road Application
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: Wed 7th February

Redevelopment to provide 183 no. apartments in a 6-9 storey building with associated parking and hard/soft landscape works (Major application). | Pring And St Hill Ltd Malago Road Bristol BS3 4JH

http://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OI6KHEDNH5400

At a general meeting on Monday, WHaM voted unanimously not to support the revised plans for this site for reasons outlined below, despite some minor improvements having being made to the plans.

I have copied in WHaM’s full response below, but here are the main objections:

  1. There is very little difference in height since the previous plans were submitted
  2. Houses in Malago Road will be overshadowed, some only seeing the sun for a maximum of two hours throughout the winter, impacting on people’s wellbeing. People on Windmill Hill, Cotswold Road, Eldon Terrace and Mendip Road will be particularly affected.
  3. High pollution levels associated with tall buildings and ‘wind tunnel’ effect.
  4. Long continuous block will act as wall.
  5. Malago River overshadowed and ignored as a valuable community resource.
  6. 1-2 bedroom flats points to buy-to-let and a high turnover of occupants. Not a family or ‘child friendly’ development.
  7. No increase in local infrastructure, e.g., schools and surgeries, to cope with extra 500 people.
  8. Lack of co-ordination between other projects in vicinity.
  9. No consultation about these revised plans,
  10. Loneliness is now recognised as big a killer as cancer, yet no attempt has been made to encourage social interaction or promote inclusion.

Please have your say, whether you object to this plan or not. You can choose from the points listed above, but maybe concentrate on 3-5 of them if you oppose the plans. It isn’t necessary to write a lot, and even a sentence or two will be very helpful. Councillors on the planning committee will read local residents’ comments before they meet to make a decision, and the number of comments can make a big difference. Developers will put forward several plans for this area over the coming months, and we don’t want this one to set a precedent.

Full WHAM comments

The height of the block is still 10 storeys, significantly out of context with the
surrounding buildings and a tall building as defined in SPD 1. SPD 1 notes that this area is unsuitable for tall buildings.

The tall block will also overshadow the houses and apartments across Malago Road, and may bring with it the associated problems of tall buildings such as: high pollution levels concentrated in a localised area and ‘wind tunnel’ effects as air moves around the corners which will affect existing residents as well as new occupants.

We believe the amendments are a minor improvement but think that more needs to be done regarding the overshadowing, height and massing to produce a development that is considerate to the existing community. We are concerned that the height means the residents of Malago Road will receive  significantly less daylight, which will impact people’s wellbeing.

Whilst the amendments have introduced a small gap between the blocks we are concerned that the height and continuous form of the larger building will act as a wall causing the surrounding dwellings to feel ‘hemmed in’. The section showing the proposals in context with the houses on Windmill Hill is also disturbing as shows how much the buildings will tower over those residents living along Cotswold Road, Eldon Terrace and Mendip Road and raises questions about the impact such a long continuous development will have on those residents living on that side of the hill.

The spacing between the 2 blocks has led to an improvement in the landscaping however we are concerned that the way the buildings will overshadow the Malago River and not provide a good environment for the wildlife that currently exists there. The lack of attention to the area around the river is a missed opportunity to provide a community resource and place for wildlife.

The ground floor flat directly adjacent to the river may also feel dark, enclosed and insecure because of its location.

We consider the consolidation of the access routes into the car park to be a welcome improvement making the urban realm a little safer for pedestrians.

The inclusion of more active frontages has also improved the security around the site and made the appearance a little more Inviting. We are keen to see this included for other large scale projects in the local area.

We are concerned that the mix of housing appears to be a combination of
1 bed 2 person, 2 bed 3 person and 2 bed 4 person flats, this is not family housing but points towards a large number of dwellings with a high turnover of occupants which will not help build a community. The inclusion of affordable units is a positive step for the area, but a high number of buy-to-let properties may be detrimental.

It is the view of the group that a successful development will be one that encourages social interaction between its residents and the wider community, promoting social inclusion and bucking the growing trend of social isolation and loneliness within our cities. A low rise development of mixed housing types and the inclusion of family accommodation will help this.

There is a broader concern that the potential of over 500 people moving into the area will add to the strain of the existing overloaded medical and educational infrastructure unless new provision is made, which has not been included in this proposal, and needs consideration in the developing proposals for the wider area.

We appreciate that some consultation has been done, members attended and spoke to the design team, however, it considers there is still room for some improvement and would like to see further work done with the community to address its concerns. We would like to see a development here that augments the local community and there is concern that the lack of co-ordination between projects in and around Bedminster Green may damage what already exists.

The group has produced a site brief for the local area which sets out the priorities of the community. We encourage all developers around Bedminster Green to make use of this document when submitting proposals.
regards

Dianne James
for and on behalf of WHaM